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A Message for the Swinging Voter.

If you are a swinging voter would you, in the light of this government’s behaviour over the past 30 months, think that they deserve to be returned to power at a general election?

Before you answer, consider the litany of broken promises wrapped up in the disastrous 2014 budget. Consider the resignations of 14 government ministers in less than three years. Consider their record on the economy, or more accurately, their lack of it. Most of all, consider the dysfunctional behaviour of Tony Abbot.

One thing is certain. If this was a Labor government in disarray, the mainstream media would be crucifying them such that they would turning swinging voters away in their droves, just as they did in 2013.

At the moment the government disarray is so self-evident the MSM is hardly needed. The parallels between what is happening inside the Liberal party now and what occurred with Labor in 2013 are plain for all to see. Except, it is worse.

Tony Abbott, who was described on Sunday by Laura Tingle on Insiders as “an oaf” is conducting himself in an unmistakably Ruddesque way. His perceived nihilistic approach will undoubtedly cost the government seats when the election is held.

The question is: how many?

Abbott has even tried to lead the tax debate by claiming Labor will introduce 5 new taxes. This is not the job of a backbencher and in saying what he did, he has effectively ruled out 5 possible tax reforms the government might have liked to consider.

In short, he has become a loose cannon and seriously damaged their election prospects.

By now the polls should be indicating a landslide victory for Labor, not just regaining seats lost in 2013, but winning a bucket load of additional seats that would ensure a comfortable majority.

Such a result would only require a swing of around 4% on 2013 results, but the fact is, Labor is still a long way from achieving that.

History shows us that Labor always struggles to win elections while the conservatives, no matter how dysfunctional, fare much better. Labor rarely has large majorities while the conservatives often win in landslides.

What is it about Labor that they struggle to get their message across? The short answer is honesty. Labor has it. The conservatives don’t. Labor will go to extraordinary lengths to articulate the finer detail of controversial policies.

By contrast, the LNP will gloss over detail preferring to touch on the emotive side with dishonest analogies, deceitful costings, inventive modelling and outright lies.

When faced with difficult questions, they divert attention by pressuring Labor, who end up boxing themselves into a corner trying to be as upfront as they can with the electorate.

Honesty is a tactic Labor should not change. They should, however, be warning the voters of the Coalition’s dishonesty during the 2013 election campaign. They should be questioning their honesty.

The last time we ever witnessed the Coalition under pressure was in 1993 when John Hewson was trying to be honest about a goods and services tax.

150301-john-hewson When asked if a birthday cake bought for a child’s party would attract a GST, he faltered, clearly unable to explain his policy in sufficient detail. The next day, Paul Keating uttered the words that ultimately cost John Hewson the un-loseable election. He said, “If you don’t understand it, don’t vote for it.”

Bill Shorten needs to take note of history. Firstly, be upfront and honest about how Labor’s policies will impact on the community, which means being 100 per cent across the detail.

But secondly, be aggressively critical of government policies in such a way that the MSM can’t ignore, whether they want to or not. The Coalition must be put under the same pressure. They won’t have much to offer having already ruled out multiple options on tax reform, so they will resort to what they do best.

They will go negative and turn the attention away from their self-evident, appalling record and concentrate on how much worse it will be under Labor. It is the coward’s approach and they are very good at it.

Forcing the Coalition to explain the detail of their policies will show them up. They are not used to that sort of attention.

Thirdly, Labor should unashamedly demonstrate their superior economic qualifications.

When the Coalition lost office in 2007, Australia was the 9th best performing economy in the world based on the IAREM global index. By 2013, when Labor were defeated, our economy was the best performing economy in the world. By 2015 we had slipped back to 9th place again.

The IAREM (Independent Australia Ranking for Economic Management) uses eight variables to assess economic performance namely, income, growth rate, median wealth, jobs, inflation, taxation, net government debt and economic freedom.

Primary sources for IAREM include the World Bank, the IMF, with supplementary information from the CIA World Fact Book and Brookings.

How then, were the Coalition able to convince the voters that the economy was in a poor state? The main reasons were outright lies, destructive analogies and a cowardly negative approach, supported by an MSM sympathetic to conservative rule, willing to turn a blind eye to the Coalition’s weaknesses.

voters_0 But there was also another reason. Labor did not believe sufficiently in their own economic management. They allowed themselves to be bulldozed into believing the Coalition’s rhetoric. They cowered under the pressure.

If Labor want to be recognised for their achievements they have to believe that they are better and demonstrate that with facts that are plain to see.

If you are a swinging voter, look beyond the false rhetoric and the glossy exterior that is Malcolm Turnbull. Government is about management. How much of that have we had over the past 30 months?


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  1. John Lord

    Nailed it John. My contention is that the swingers now number 20% and that Labor cannot win running with a traditional campaign. Abbott went to the last election without policies and in Government didn’t develop any. This means Turnbull will have had little time to do so. Shorten can’t win with charisma so it has to be with superior policy. I hope he has been doing his homework.

  2. stephentardrew

    John you have two 9th places that need correcting. Understand because I am good at mistooks. Great article though.

    IAREM rankings have Australia in 9th place in 2007 and 2015, Stephen. What have I missed?

  3. stephentardrew

    We are all living in disappointment land John. Let’s hope things improve. Surely they have someone with charisma and honest drive.

  4. aravis1

    This is worth sharing and sharing again. Just maybe then more people would wake up and realise that Labor has the honesty and the policies, and governs well. I will be sharing this many times! (Carolyn Janson)

  5. cuppa

    The Coalition can not be honest, even if their conservative inclination allowed it. Because their agenda favours only a few per cent at the top of the income pile, to get majority support they have to lie about and distract from their true plans.

    Throw in dog-whistling, fear whispering, racism, character attacks and smearing of their opponents, ubiquitous use of simplistic slogans, plus the welfare bestowed on them by the mainstream media – they make it difficult to be defeated.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    That’s it cuppa. If the Liberals were totally honest they would never win elections.

  7. Kyran

    Prior to the 2013 election, a caller to jon feign on Melbourne ABC radio queried why feign kept saying ‘carbon tax’ when it was no such thing. Feign’s response epitomised to me how insidious tiny’s methodology is. “If I called it anything else, no one would know what I was talking about.”. I’m paraphrasing off recollection so they may not be his exact words.
    “Abbott has even tried to lead the tax debate by claiming Labor will introduce 5 new taxes.”
    As I pay as little attention to tiny as I possibly can, I only read his list of ‘5 new taxes’ once. My recollection was that not one of them was a ‘new tax’. All five were reductions to tax concessions afforded to the wealthier members of our communities.
    Whilst I would like to believe that most people see through this sort of crap, reality appears to be at odds with my desires.
    For the life of me, I cannot suggest one government minister who is ‘across their brief’. In the absence of any serious questioning, their lies and obfuscation become part of the narrative.
    “They cowered under the pressure.”
    Whilst I agree with most of your premises, the level of vigilance required to correct every one of their deceits would not only exhaust their political opponents, but the entire MSM (assuming they would be party to such a task).
    It is no longer politics, in my opinion. It is marketing, with all the inherent deceit and corruption.
    Thank you, Mr Kelly. Take care

  8. Wayne Turner

    Cuppa is spot on. Sadly helped by how ignorant and gullible the masses are.

    Sadly the most important thing the Libs have is the BIASED UNDEMOCRATIC MSM (They failed at the 2010 election,and sooked about it ever since.With their lies and undemocratic campaign to destroy Julia Gillard.Aided by Rudd who wanted his job back,and the fact Rudd fell out badly with Murdoch ie: Rudd stopped being Murdoch’s puppet,and wanted to introduce a mining tax.) aka the promotional wing of the Liberal party (The only recent exception,was the 2007 election,in which Rudd cut a deal with Murdoch before hand.While Howard didn’t know when to go,and committed political suicide with Work Choices.).

    Swinging voters,most are gullible and ignorant.Who blindly follow the MSM.It’s sad and pathetic this lot will,and do decide elections..

  9. Matthew Oborne

    Turnbull did an Abbott again yesterday, he came to SA with a major announcement for SA and the state premier was nowhere to be seen.

    When Abbott did it the media decided to correctly point out Prime ministers shouldnt behave like that, different PM so a different standard perhaps but channelling his inner Tony to make a government announcement a Liberal party propaganda platform complete with Taxpayer funding raises not a jot of interest when it is the rebel without a reflection.

  10. stephentardrew

    Sorry John misread my apologies. Mr Nong strikes again.

  11. ella

    John, many thanks.
    BUT it has happened again , I Tried to post a comment early this morning and guess what? I pressed post and what I wrote vanished into thin air. Can anyone suggest why? Now I can’t remember what I wrote.

    Back to your article…well said Cuppa.
    As a swinging voter where can I get factual , accurate and honest information, when even programmes such as the ABC’s Q&A, 7.30 report, the Drum and my used to be favourite Insiders are going soft on the government. WHY?
    M. Cash on Q&A last night was given the opportunity to slag Labor, tell half truths ,monopolise time with no restraint. She gave an LNP election spiel. Shame on Q&A and I have been a staunch supporter of the ABC. What has happened to you ABC?

    The only thing I can hold on to is “they know that they lie, we know that they lie” and this applies to most politicians when put in a position to defend the indefensible.
    I know I will NOT be voting for the LNP again till they develop a social conscience which includes; the sick, the old, the unemployed,single parent families , the environment.
    NOT just their vested interest backers, and sickening mass media…and the papers wonder why sales are down. I will not buy a paper to read BS

    Surprise surprise I have used a different computer.

  12. Michael Taylor

    Hi Ella, your comment didn’t go into spam. I have no idea what could have happened.

  13. cartoonmick

    As with so many elections recently, if Labor win, it won’t be because of their actions, it will be because the Coalition lost.

    The Coalition has broken too many promises to be trusted again in anything they say or promise.

    So many pollies these days talk total garbage and expect us to believe them.

    Our political scene has descended to the depths where politicians feel they are entitled to lie to us and not be challenged over it.

    Their Spin Doctors have become Fiction Engineers..

    A political promise no longer has any credit.

    This cartoon reflects on recent political promises……….

    Editorial / Political


  14. kerri

    A small point John Kelly faltered not faulted.
    A good article!
    The bluster and bravado worked for Abbott but I suspect Turnbull will work on charm and wit and intellect and all the things he used to be but has sold out on to get the Pm job!
    I commented earlier in the week and it is a point worth reiterating for the swinging voters!
    Malcolm has his hands tied by the deals he made with the extreme right of the Liberal and National Parties.
    Those people who have forced him to give up his previously well pronounced idealogies (same sex marriage, republic, etc) are the exact same people who will not allow any of Turnbull’s more centrist policies beyond the Party room.
    He cannot win the election without them winning their seats which means after an election he will be exactly the same! Hands tied.
    The media are claiming if Turnbull becomes PM in his own right things will be different!
    For Turnbull to win the next election we will see the same lineup of nasty and stupid right wing clods!
    Bernardi, Pyne, Abetz, Abbott, Fierravanti-Wells, Frydenberg, Fifield, Cormann, Joyce, Nash, Roy, Bishop, Cash, O Dwyer, Hunt, Bishop, Ley, Dutton, Brandis, Porter, Morrison, Ciobo, Teflon Sinodinos and Natasha Griggs and Luke Simpkin who were both outed this week for yet more travel rorts!
    No one should expect anything different from Turnbull than we got from Abbott.
    He is hamstrung regardless of whether he rules by stealth or by winning in his own right.
    We do not, and we did not ever, need to change the one person at the top.

    Noted and fixed, Kerri. Thank you.

  15. Kaye Lee


    Sometimes when I am posting a comment the screen goes white with some sort of message about cross-scripting or just a # appearing. If I press refresh the comment appears.

  16. kerri

    Small suggestion ella?
    Until you figure out what is causing the glitch, BEFORE hitting “post” screenshot or photo with phone.
    It’s a pain to have to but sometimes our best and most fluent thoughts re hard to recreate with the same punch!
    You will have to retype later but at least your thoughts wont be lost!
    Oh! And the ABC have been hobbled by right wing calls for the balance to tip in their direction.

  17. Kaye Lee

    It is terribly disappointing listening to Albanese and Bandt attack each other today about preferences. It is not helpful. If they cannot unite in the shared aim of removing this destructive government then they should encourage their supporters to allocate their own preferences.

  18. Ella

    Kaye , Kerri thanks.
    Re the status of ABC. I find the 7.30 report nothing more than fill in .
    Come on those of you in the ABC refuse to let your public down…together we are strong.

  19. thebustopher

    The ALP are going to need Greens preferences to get across the line, as their primary vote is nowhere near as high as the Libs. So why did we see Albo out having a go at the Greens, and today Adam Bandt in Melbourne hitting back? Totally counter productive debate, setting lefty against lefty.

  20. mars08

    But…. ah… But, but… they stopped those annoying boats. And they chopped the silly spending spree that Rudd started!!!

  21. jim

    On another subject the Liberals want very much too enable more Corporate trade deals However thousands and thousands of jobs have already been lost in America due to such Trade deals here ;estimates that America lost 3.2 million jobs as a result of the U.S.-China trade deficit between 2001 and 2013. Three-fourths of those jobs were in manufacturing.

    “We need to level the playing field.” — Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan
    Wages of American workers have also suffered due to the competition with cheap Chinese labor, EPI says. The extensive report, which analyzed data by Congressional districts nationwide, says the key to making exports cheap is currency manipulation. Chinese exports are cheaper because China keeps its currency artificially low, according to the report.

  22. jaquix


  23. Wally

    Labor need an armoury of policies that are well designed and thought out to benefit a wide cross section of society with no consideration of the effect on wealthy voters who are unlikely to change their vote.

    Between now and the election every Labor candidate needs to become well versed in every aspect of the proposed policies that should remain under wraps until an election date is announced. When the election date is known every policy should be published with a full account of the pros and cons.

    Smack the lying Liberal turds right between the eyes and give them no squiggle room.

  24. my say

    This government is running scared and plan on winning this election by doing whatever it takes,
    not only have they changed the voting system, they are now bringing the date of the budget forward one week ,and calling a DD,they are treating us like mugs,
    As you say they have fourteen resign for different reasons since they came to power,
    They are a chaotic dangerous government, with no policies full of lies and blaming labor,
    We have been down that path before that is why we are in so much trouble now ,who will there after the election ,who can you vote for and honestly say they will represent you if they are elected again,
    Australia is in the hands of the voters ,and if they really look at what they are going to loose hopefully we can show them on election day who the mugs are ,vote them out for Australian’s sake.

  25. Pingback: A Message for the Swinging Voter. | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  26. aidan kelly

    The writer missed a point that keeping Malcolm in is the best way to keep Abbott out, Labor are still in the sin-bin after the bring back Rudd brain-fart moment of the century, Malcolm is the best leader in the country at the moment and the parties are relatively speaking far less relevant, there is no alternative to the big parties at the moment so the best strategy is to ensure the best leader gets the job, Malcolm deserves to be elected for taking out Abbott, once he finds his MAN-DATE he can deal with the right wing of the Liberal Party – watch out for NIck X – the new centrist movement is where it is at.

  27. Wally

    aidan kelly

    Are you for real?

    In the short time Turnbull has been PM he has convincingly proven he is not a leaders arsehole!

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